JOY is dedicated to creating sustainable relationships of service between colleges and deserving ministries in the Dominican Republic and other places where children face a cycle of poverty, abuse, and malnutrition. These partnerships encourage young people to invest in a lifetime of service through child sponsorship, hands-on service, and advocacy for incredible organizations who serving at-risk and orphaned youth. Our service trips are often a catalyst for young people to use their passions for purpose!
Meet Megan Zelasko!
Megan came to the Dominican Republic with JOY in May 2016 and served at schools in Jarabacoa. This spring, she'll be returning to the DR with us - this time to Santo Domingo!
You can still join us! Apply here.
We asked Megan about her first JOY experience, child sponsorship, and why she continues #spreadjoynow:
"The second I stepped into my mom’s car after only sleeping one hour the night before and traveling for a straight 9 hours, I knew I was going to go back. In fact that was actually the first thing that I told my mom when I saw her. I knew God had placed in my heart the desire to continue to be grown by Him in a place that was unfamiliar to me the week before. God showed me what throwing everything to Him looked like in one short week and that the only way to survive in a country that you can’t speak the language is to rely only on Him for guidance.
I knew I wanted to go back to the Dominican Republic the second that I left the children’s home in Jarabacoa. I was still in the country, but God was calling me back to the hearts of the kiddos at the home. In my two short days spent at the children’s home in May 2016, I met my little “broski” Kelvin. We instantly attached to each other when he took me by the hand and showed my how to each raw sugar cane from the plant. He also didn’t care that I couldn’t speak Spanish past “hola,” “como estas,” and “adios.”
My last moments with Kelvin were my absolute favorite and one of the reasons why I started sponsoring him: before the team left, Kelvin would act like he was riding a motorcycle (sound effects and all) and run up to me and I would spin him around. We did this about 20 times (yes I was counting) and when I said my final “adios” I wasn’t sure if I was going to ever say “hola” to him again.
I thought God put on my heart to go back to the Dominican in order to see Kelvin again. Eventually, God will make our paths cross again, but this time I think He is calling me for a different reason. I think that God is calling me back in the Dominican to learn more about the hearts of the children in another part of the Dominican. I absolutely cannot wait to go back to the Dominican in March, and I can’t wait for the day I get to see Kelvin again. "